Breastfeeding and maternal health

Benefits of breastfeeding

It's never too early to start to think about infant feeding, even before you are pregnant! Once you are expecting a baby, speak to your midwife, Healthy Families Team (health visitor), Family Nurse Practitioner or Children's Centre Service team for more information.

Due to the known health benefits of breastfeeding, it's recommended that whenever possible, mums breastfeed their babies, until their baby is 6 months old.

  • breastfeeding protects babies from infections and diseases
  • breast milk provide health benefits for your baby
  • breastfeeding provides health benefits for mums
  • it's free and available whenever your baby needs a feed
  • it can give mums a great sense of achievement
  • its great for the environment, with no packaging going into landfill or no food miles

Health benefits for babies

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed babies, giving them the best start in life. It is recommended for around the first six months of your baby's life.

Any amount of breastfeeding has a positive effect, as breastfed babies have:

  • less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting
  • fewer chest and ear infections
  • less chance of being constipated
  • less likelihood of becoming obese and developing type 2 diabetes
  • less chance of developing eczema.

Health benefits for mum

Breastfeeding doesn’t only benefit your baby, it benefits mum's health too. Breastfeeding is good for mums as:

  • evidence suggests it can build a strong physical and emotional bond between mother and baby
  • lowers the risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer
  • naturally uses up to 500 calories a day

If you have questions about breastfeeding more information is available via Nottshelpyourself | Breastfeeding and Breastfeeding support (

You can also attend a virtual Antenatal BABES group (from 28 weeks pregnant).

If you'd like to attend a BABES group once you've had your baby, please visit Nottshelpyourself | Listings in Breast feeding support

Breastfeeding Friendly

Nottinghamshire County Council, the 7 district/borough councils and Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust work together to implement this scheme to encourage businesses and venues in Nottinghamshire to sign up to being 'Breastfeeding Friendly' to help provide a more welcoming and positive environment for breastfeeding families.

The Equality Act 2010 clarifies that it is unlawful for a business to discriminate against someone because they are breastfeeding a child.

The scheme asks businesses to adopt a positive breastfeeding approach, including providing a clean and comfortable environment for babies and their parents/carers and to ensure staff are supportive of their needs.

Businesses and venues taking part will display window and till stickers letting people know they are welcome to breastfeed.

If you would like more information about the scheme, please contact your relevant district/borough council. Contact details can be found in this resource pack [PDF].

UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative

Nottinghamshire County Council's Children's Centre Service is proud to be accredited by UNICEF at the Gold standard. Each year, the service provided to families is externally verified and we've retained the Gold standard since 2020. As Notts Healthcare Trust's Healthy Families Team is also graded at Gold, it means that Nottinghamshire is one of the few areas where both parts of the community support for breastfeeding meets UNICEF's rigorous standards.

For more information on UNICEF Baby Friendly see: Accreditation - Baby Friendly Initiative (

Best Start in Life Infant Feeding Strategic Group

Colleagues from across Nottinghamshire and Nottingham city work together to support families breast feeding experiences. We are currently updating our Strategy and Plan and will share it here once finalised.

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